January 11, 2019

Today I cold called 6 people. This week it was only mildly terrifying

Thanks to everyone for chiming in last week with the encouragement in this thread: https://www.indiehackers.com/forum/i-just-cold-called-5-prospects-for-the-first-time-holy-sh-t-was-it-hard-67cf35d22e

This week I increased to 6 cold dials. Some key takeaways:

  • Last week my pitch was forced, and I never let the prospect answer any questions before giving the whole thing. This week I took the advice from @wavve and opened with "Hey X, this is Matt Sencenbaugh and I'm with WrestlingIQ, did I catch you at a bad time?". This was a great interrupt, but also made me feel more human.

  • Last week my pitch was sales focused (this is my software, I'd like to schedule an appoint with you to demo it). This week I positioned myself as wanting to learn from the prospect (club wrestling coach) in question. I felt a lot more comfortable doing this.

Result was 2 voicemail, 2 dead phone numbers, and 2 pick ups. One pickup the person was no longer associated with the wrestling club, but the interaction went fine. No screaming or raging, just a simple one minute call to find out my info is out of whack.

The other pickup was helpful. The club coach explained to me how their team functions. How the website updating is handled, how the team messages their parents, etc. Critically we talked about how his team gets payment, practice space, and registrations through the city parks department. This fact means that my software is probably not a good fit for him, but it gave me more insider info into exactly what cut they are taking and what's good and bad about that. He also mentioned that he was considering moving away from the parks department, but had concerns about having to do all of that registration and payment stuff himself, which is exactly what my software is designed to handle. Case in point, he's not a good fit right now, but might be in the future.

I have a lot to learn, but this week was better than last week.


  1. 2

    Check out SPIN Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-Payoff and really focus on talking to them like you would like to be talked to...with humility, respect, openness, generosity, and reciprocity (listening).

    Spin selling is also the ONLY scientific textbook on sales. It is also ironically not about closing. It is about making them feel the emotions they want they want to feel from you, your product, and your business.

    As a technique, you might try cherry picking. That always helps get a conversation started.

    Repeat an important element of what they said back to them phrased in your language. Make sure it is relevant to conversation and moves towards connection.

    You want the connection not the sale. The sale will come even if takes like 6 months or more. In the meantime, people who are ready to buy will be there and ready with their check book.

  2. 1

    Hi Matt,

    Our product would be similar to yours, but not as specialised, check us out:

    https://membersportal.co

    Early on someone recommended Predictable Revenue, an amazing book by an ex-salesforce rep, I cannot recommend this book enough as it deals with all aspects of cold-calling, cold-emailing etc, from the conversation flow through to marketing funnel:

    https://www.amazon.com/Predictable-Revenue-Business-Practices-Salesforce-com-ebook/dp/B005ERYEGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547303146&sr=8-1&keywords=predictable+revenue

    You can cherry-pick the parts you need in the book, no need to read it all.

    On our own experience, I agree cold calling is horrible, but you quickly find that all the clubs are looking very similar features, and you can refine your product around that. Our original focus was entirely on membership, then after signing up several clubs realised they all wanted event registration, so shifted our focus quickly. This also had the added benefit of many clubs wanting to try our system, but not give us access to their existing database. After running a first event registration with them they realised how much the Members Portal helped reduced their admin, and were happy to use us for more events and eventually membership. I would imagine you will find something similar.

    On timescales, we've very much found it a long process, some of our current customers started using our system 2 years after our initial contact with them! Timing can be everything so ensure you know when annual registration happens for your sport, and target the clubs upto 6 months before this.

    Good luck for your marketing approach.

    All the best,

    Stephen

  3. 1

    Nice! Sounds like you learned something useful. One good conversation out of six cold calls is not bad!

  4. 1

    Have to look at it differently. If you spend an hour calling and you get a single client and that client is worth $1,000 then you have made $1,000 per hour.

  5. 1

    Good stuff Matt! I will be entering a phase soon when I will need to start contacting Soccer Clubs for my product soccercruit.com - nice to know there are others on here tackling a niche market in sports!

    1. 2

      I'm also glad to see more niche products, keep up the good work! All the big guns are after the American football market, then 'make it work for everyone else' by rebranding without any useful features that are sport specific which really sucks. I do think there is a market, and you seem well positioned to do it given your background.

  6. 1

    Hey congratz Matt! I am scared shitless just by the thought of cold calling tbh, what you did is amazing. Annnd you are improving! This really motivates me to start being more proactive. Thanks for sharing and please keep doing weekly updates :D

    1. 1

      you can do it!

  7. 1

    "One pickup the person was no longer associated with the wrestling club" .. something you don't read every day ;)

  8. 1

    Matt,

    thanks a lot for sharing your experience. But I have a question for you. Are you 100% sure that you need to do cold calls? Have you ever tried cold emails, email subscription, content marketing?

    I have a feeling that you're just trying to prove to yourself that you can do it (and you really can) but do you really need it? There is a lot of other marketing tactics, most of them are much less painful and maybe much more effective.

    Good luck.

    1. 2

      I saw this an wanted to chime in. At an early stage I've personally found cold calls/skype etc. to be super useful. Not as a long term way to sell, but as a great way to get feedback on how to sell.

      1. 3

        Yeah I agree, anytime you get to talk with a potential customer is always ideal!

  9. 1

    Hey Matt,

    It's really nice of you to write detailed posts about your experience. Cold callings are always terrifying. I've found potential leads usually to be quite receptive to the call, you do come across a few irate customers but the number is usually low.

    Great work so far. Would love to follow your progress and any tips on the way too :)

    1. 1

      Thank you!

  10. 1

    Awesome! This is great to hear after your last post!

    It's also clear that you taking the time to do this is going to give you so much valuable information. You're learning so much about your audience from just a couple calls! That could be incredibly valuable!

    Keep focusing on their pain points, and keep up the great work :)

    1. 1

      Always good to know more about my audience. So many 'sub-niches' within niches.

  11. 1

    Awesome stuff Matt! Keep at it.

  12. 1

    Congrats Matt! I forced myself at one point to do cold calls and am still terrified doing them. Good for you.